In 1 Chronicles 11:13, we’ve had to add a large translator insertion into the text. Why?
It seems that part of the original Hebrew manuscript was lost sometime before the Greek Septuagint was translated in the 3rd century BCE.
This can be seen very clearly from the context, because of the ‘three mighty men’ (JeseBaAl, EliEzer, and Shammah), only the first two are actually named, and the latter part of EliEzer’s famous deed is missing, and the beginning of Shammah’s famous deed is missing too!
We know this from the parallel account in 2 Samuel 23. So, we’ve filled in the missing information by taking it from that other Bible book, putting the inserted text [inside square brackets].
Experts in Hebrew state that about 3 lines of Hebrew text were lost back in antiquity. A major loss like this could only have happened very early, back when the Jewish population was still very low, and there were very few copies of Chronicles around to compare against.
It seems that later scribes didn’t realize there was material missing, so they merged the two famous deeds of EliEzer and Shammah together, creating a hybrid account which is all ascribed to EliEzer.
Poor old Shammah got erased!
Thankfully for Shammah, and us, the parallel account in 2 Samuel lets us know what happened. Perhaps one day, an ancient text will be found that contains the original wording.
You can read more about this issue in the Keil and Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary
Also see these translator notes:
• 37 mighty men.
• The confusing lists of David’s mighty men.
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